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Seahawks Have What Packers Safeties Don't: Speed, Physicality and Heart

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Seahawks Have What Packers Safeties Don't: Speed, Physicality and Heart

Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. Photo by Brian Carriveau of CheeseheadTV.com.

NEW YORK CITY––By all accounts, the Seattle Seahawks defense was suffocating in their Super Bowl XLVIII victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, stopping the NFL's No. 1 offense dead in its tracks, the 43-8 final score as evidence of the dominance.

The Seahawks get superb play from all levels of their defense, but nowhere else in the NFL might there be a safety tandem like Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, both playing large roles in NFL's championship game: Chancellor picking off Peyton Manning to set up Seattle's first touchdown of the game and Thomas making seven tackles, including one for a loss, flying up from his free safety position to make a stop behind the line of scrimmage.

They stand in stark contrast to the Packers safety tandem in 2013 consisting primarily of Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings, the duo that failed to come up without a single interception in 16 regular season contests and one playoff game between the two of them.

If the Seahawks have the No.1 group of safeties in the NFL, the Packers might have the 32nd. There's little question it's one of the weakest units on the Packers roster and one in desperate need of upgrading if the Packers hope to get back to promised land that is Super Bowl glory.

But what is it that the Seahawks have at safety that the Packers don't? What qualities, traits, attributes, characteristics and features do the best pair of safeties in professional football possess?

For Thomas, it's speed. But it goes beyond just the physical speed that can be measured with those stopwatches so many scouts will be holding at the NFL Combine in just a little over two weeks from now.

“One of the things that I regard in quarterbacks, a lot, is that mental quickness," said Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in the run-up to the Super Bowl earlier in the week. "They know where to go with the ball or they know what to do in a certain situation.

"I think as a defensive player, (Thomas has) totally put the time in to put himself into that position, based on a formation, a split or an alert. I’ve said it before, when he was first here in the offseason, I would walk down the hall and there would be a light in the DB meeting room. I generally had a sense of who was in there, probably watching tape. It was Earl. You can feel that drive from him, the constant film study, that he really wants to attack it and be as good as he can be. That’s one of the things I admire most about him. He’s fast, he has a great skill set, but really, there’s this other side of him from off the field that he wants to be great. He really works at it hard.”

The closing speed of Thomas is among the things that make him most impressive, that ability to arrive the same time as the football or make a tackle almost instantaneously the moment the receiver makes a catch, something Thomas and the rest of the players in the Seattle secondary were doing with regularity against the Broncos.

But part of the reason that's possible is because of the hard work Thomas and his compatriots do off the field. Because of diligent study, they knew how they would be attacked by the likes of Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on Sunday.

"I just try to be the best," said Thomas. "I just try to own my role, be the best free safety possible and try to eliminate all the big plays in the run game and the pass game. I try to be able to cover deep and come up and make tackles just like a linebacker. I just let my speed do the talking for me. Speed kills."

Complementing the speed of Thomas is the physicality of Chancellor, the man who puts the  "strong" in "strong safety" and the "Boom" in "Legion of Boom."

Chancellor is an intimidating presence in the Seattle defensive backfield, a defender liable to deck an opposing receiver coming across the middle and leave him laying on the ground while he comes to his senses.

"I love being called the enforcer, and I love the respect from my teammates and the L.O.B.," said Chancellor. "Since day one, I've always been a guy who’s been physical. Always been a guy who brings the boom to the group. And they always looked at me as that guy. They looked at me as a big brother. Every chance I get I try to go out there and lay the boom for these guys. I play for my brothers, and we emphasize that all the time.”

It helps to have Chancellor's size and stature. The ability to make punishing tackles come easy when you're as physically endowed with a muscular body as the two-time Pro Bowl safety.

But while Chancellor is 6-3 and 232 lbs. and Thomas is just 5-10 and 202 lbs., they both get the job done no matter what size they are.

Their common bond isn't necessarily any physical attribute, it's what's inside, according to Chancellor.

"Both of us have have big hearts no matter the size of the person," said Chancellor. "We have huge hearts, and we're determined. We have a vision. We had a vision when we first came here, and we told ourselves, 'This is what we want to be. This is how we want people to envision us. This is how we want people to look at us.' And it's playing out just like we said, and it's kind kind of scary because we always talk about it, and it's going exactly like we want it to."

Following a season in which the Packers defense largely let down a team with explosive offense, it's up the front office to add depth at the safety position in the mold of Thomas and Chancellor, not that they need one bigger player and one smaller one. They just need better overall talent.

Whether it's through free agency or the draft is immaterial. Whatever the method of procuring talent, the Packers have to figure out a way to elevate the level of play at safety in 2014. The pieces are already in place on the offensive side of the football, led by Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy, and now it's time for the safeties to become reliable at the very least and preferably playmakers, not unlike the pair in Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. Photo by Brian Carriveau of CheeseheadTV.com.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (118) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

There was one play by Chancellor, I believe, that really impressed me. I think it was in the 2nd half.

He was covering some WR on like a deep post and as he was running with him up the middle of the field he saw Welker coming just underneath him on a crossing route. He was able to stop, spin around, change direction and pick up Welker in a split second. And as the ball got to Welker he blew the play up.

Incredible athleticism and instincts. That just stuck out to me as a play none of our safeties would ever make.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I saw that as well...

None of our safety's make that play.

What's even crazier, is when you look at where these guys were drafted. Chancellor was a 5th round pick. Sherman was a 5th round pick. Thurmond was a 4th round pick.
The only 1st round player is Earl Thomas who was picked at 14.
That's just the secondary.

Malcolm Smith (Super Bowl MVP) was a 7th round pick. Wright was a 4th round pick.

They must have some amazing scouts finding these guys.

jeremy's picture

"They must have some amazing scouts finding these guys."

Yep, and either we have some un-amazing scouts. Or a GM who is too stubborn to listen.

Ted Thompson's picture

Holy stupid!!! Yes our scouts are morons and ted refused to listen. Has to be the dumbest thing I have read in my life.

jeremy's picture

Who said our scouts are morons? I think the dumbest things I read are your freakouts based on lack of comprehension.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Never said anything about our scouts or GM.

I'm just saying that Seattle has really hit on mid to late round picks that really contributed to their Super Bowl win.

Hank Scorpio's picture

It's a little too amazing to believe it was all on scouting.

"Draft and develop" philosophy is as much about the second part as the first part.

RC Packer Fan's picture

You are correct. Finding the players is just step 1. Taking those players and developing them is step 2.

That being said, the scouts were the ones who found these players and deserve credit for that.

IowaPackFan's picture

That amazing scout is John Schneider, former Packers' VP of personnel and director of operations from 2002-2009.

Evan's picture

What's interesting, though, is Carroll has final say on personnel. Schneider works for Carroll.

Not to take anything away from Schneider - he's a born and raised Wisconsin boy and I hope he takes over when TT retires - but he's not doing it alone.

Phatgzus's picture

Yeah, I remember that play as well, absolutely perfect execution, calling it textbook doesn't do it justice.

casual fan's picture

Part of draft and develop is coaching as well.

Hank Scorpio's picture

I also don't think we can discount the possibility that the incredible run on day 3 draft gems is pharmaceutically enhanced.

The Seahawks have been hit with an awful lot of suspensions since Carroll arrived one step ahead of the NCAA posse that came after USC. Brandon Browner has moved into the lifetime ban territory. Richard Sherman isn't on the list of suspended Seahawks because he won an appeal. There is an awful lot of smoke there. It may all be recreational smoke since the NFL doesn't say if a suspension was for PEDs or recreational drugs. But it may not be for recreational drugs, too.

I sure don't remember any other team pulling so many quality starters out of rounds 4-7 in such short order. These are not guys that are filling spots. They are key contributors on a top defense that only a few years ago everyone passed on at least 3 times, usually more. Maybe the Seattle is doing it so much better than anyone else in the NFL. Maybe it was just an incredible statistical fluke. Stuff like that can and does happen. But I sure wouldn't be surprised to find out there is more to it than that.

cLowNEY42's picture

Then get some of that juice for the Pack! Stat!

Tony's picture

It's so frustrating seeing safeties make impactful plays throughout a huge game and then to think of Burnett/Jennings slapfighting week after week.

keeley2's picture

Although I think it's fair to point out Hayward and Jennings lack of speed, size, or instincts, I think it totally unfair to question their heart. Do you know what motivates them? Yes, safety seems to be a major shortcoming on defense, but unless you can pinpoint a definite "lack of heart", you're intimating a major shortcoming in their character. Not fair or appropriate in my mind.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Hayward plays CB not Safety...

Mike's picture

And Hayward's problem this year was injuries

Hank Scorpio's picture

The notion that you can "find Safeties anywhere" has been around for a long time. Ron Wolf was a guy that didn't put a lot of effort into the position. He taught TT about team building and TT doesn't put a lot into the position.

The modern evolution of football has made that philosophy incorrect, IMO. Safety is an absolutely critical spot. You don't need to be as good as Seattle, who have an outstanding pair. But you need to be good at Safety or the defense will suffer for it.

Beep's picture

You're right, Wolf didn't put much effort into safety because he inherited Leroy Butler who was a 4x All-Pro. He also signed Eugene Robinson (2x All-Pro) and drafted Darren Sharper (6x All-Pro). Perhaps he failed prior to Robinson because George Teague didn't live up to expectations. Sad thing is, Teague would be a starter for the current Packers.

jeremy's picture

Teague had a decent career in Dallas. I'd take him over any Thompson Safety except Collins.

Hank Scorpio's picture

Back in the 90s, it was pretty common knowledge that Wolf viewed Safety and OG as positions that were not big priorities. The play at Safety for those Packer teams in the 90s reflected that far more than not.

Teague, Antuan Edwards, Mike Prior and even the first few years of Sharper might not have been as bad as MD Jennings but not many Packer fans were particularly pleased with their play at the time. In fact, to the day he left, many Packer fans thought Sharper gave up as many big plays as he made. I didn't share that view but I can't say I thought it was crazy talk, either.

Beep's picture

Bigger credit to Wolf is that he realized the need for a better FS after Teague didn't work out and he signed a respectable FA in Robinson. TT must not have been taking notes that day.

Hank Scorpio's picture

Actually, Wolf traded for Eugene Robinson. In today's NFL, vets on the downside come with big contracts that make trades unlikely. So even if TT was taking notes on that, they are just a roadmap to cap problems.

Ron Wolf deserves credit for a great many things during his tenure in GB. His handling of Safety was not among them, IMO.

KennyPayne's picture

Why stop with the Safeties?

Does anyone think AJ Hawk or Brad Jones could have done what 7th round pick Malcolm Smith did in the NFC Championship (flying to the end zone to pick off the pass Sherman deflected) or taking his INT to the house yesterday?

Does anyone think Nick Perry is nearly the pass rusher that Michael Bennet or Cliff Avril are?

The Pack's problems on D include the LBs and DLine.

Only at CB is there much talent ... assuming Shields is resigned.

Tarynfor12's picture

I support this comment with this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50-AWmB3Trk

Jamie's picture

That was lame and awful all wrapped up into one.

IowaPackFan's picture

Man, we sorely miss Bish at ILB.

GrnMachine's picture

Bishop... Collins... Barnett... Jenkins... Woodson... Hell, even DJ Smith... Either potentially career-threatening/
ending injuries or a failure to realize they still had something left. Did I mention we could've got some guy named Marshawn Lynch for a 4th rounder?!?

CDR's picture

Just goes to show you, the Super Bowl displayed that no matter the accolades, the record-breaking numbers, a great offense will always fall to a world class defense.

Albert Lingerfeld's picture

What I find sad, really sad for the fans. Some of these guys were 5th round picks. Our safeties were 5th round picks or later. The guy who picked these players was a former GB backs coach who said, no more smallish guys like he had in GB.
He wanted size, and speed and tackling in Seattle.
One other thing, Seattle was without its top Safety Browner. Not sure if he is hurt or on suspension? Hew is a 6'3 bone crushing cover guy too.
Along these lines I give the Vikes credit. They have drafted extremely well the past two years and are getting loaded with this type of hard noised, sure tackle cover guys.
To me they are one decent young QB away from being a Seattle esk team.

Jamie's picture

If you're going to pull something from your ass atleast make it semi believable. Having big DBs isn't a uniquely Seahawks conceit. Ron Wolf believed in not drafting a DB under 5'11. TT believes in the same thing. Look at our roster. Height is not something we lack.

zeke's picture

" To me they are one decent young quarterback away from being a Seattle esk team"

Much the same way that I am one winning lottery ticket away from being a millionaire.

Al Dante's picture

I agree with Ketchum, the 3-4 defense is designed more to save money by not having to pay for and acquire those high priced DE's in the first and second rounds. I also think Ted and the boys feel they can get cheaper safeties and corners late in the draft to also having to pay those first rounders the big bucks.
If not, why are our guys smallish, slow and poor cover and tackle guys?

Lane's picture

It's funny that there's very little to support anything you said.

"I also think Ted and the boys feel they can get cheaper safeties and corners late in the draft to also having to pay those first rounders the big bucks."

If that's the case, why did Ted draft Nick Collins in the 2nd round, Morgan Burnett in the 3rd round, and Casey Hayward in the 2nd round?

Also, what evidence is there to support your belief that using first round picks on the secondary equates to great quality? In fact, the recent trent suggests that this is completely flawed. Dee Mililner, Dre Kirkpatrick, DJ Hayden, and Morris Claiborne among others have vastly underperformed relative to their draft status and hype.

Furthermore, Sam Shields and Micah Hyde have played well despite being an undrafted free agent and 5th round pick respectively.

"If not, why are our guys smallish, slow and poor cover and tackle guys?"

Is Sam Shields slow? Can he not cover? Is Davon House not tall enough?

What I don't understand is how people think this entirely down to drafting and scouting, but fail to recognize the development and coaching aspect. Davon House was in the same draft as Richard Sherman and went a round earlier. He is over 6 feet tall, 5 pounds heavier than Sherman, and was faster than Sherman in every measure. Was that a bad draft pick at the time? Who's to say that the Seahawks didn't have House above Sherman on their board?

jeremy's picture

The 2004 Packers Defense is what Thompson inherited.

Nick Barnett MLB
Na'il Diggs RLB
Hannibal Navies LLB
Darren Sharper FS
Mark Roman SS
Al Harris RCB
Ahmad Carroll LCB
Aaron Kampman LDE
KGB RDE
Grady Jackson DT
Cullen Jenkins DT

It's 10 years later. Who wants to argue that the Packers defense is any better than it was when Thompson took over? Personally, I'd take the 2004 defense over 9 out of the 10 defenses assembled by Thompson.

jeremy's picture

I'll take the 2001, 2002, and 2003 defenses over 9 out of 10 Thompson defenses as well. No need to look back further, the picture is clear.

Lane's picture

But you wouldn't take those defenses over the 2010 defense that was ranked 2nd and the league and helped win a Super Bowl right?

jeremy's picture

" 9 out of 10 "

That's the one...

Hank Scorpio's picture

Cullen Jenkins was a rookie backup. The second starting DT was actually Cletidus Hunt. I'm pretty sure that was after he became worthless once he got paid but not 100% positive. Grady Jackson was, uh, mercurial. When motivated he was outstanding. All too often, he wasn't motivated. KGB could rush the passer but was horrible vs the run. Kampman was outstanding.

The nickel back was Mike Hawthorne. He and Carroll would be closest to Jarrett Bush among current Packer CBs. Roman is another link in the long chain of bad Packer Safeties. Sharper was a big play machine but not all of those big plays went the Packers way. I remember saying at the time that no player appeared in more posters of NFL players. Harris was outstanding.

Diggs and Navies are no different than the Packers current LBs. Barnett was ok. Not great but not bad either.

This was the team that lost at home in the playoffs to the 8-8 Vikings in the Moss Moonshine game.

You'll certainly welcome to your opinion but I would say you're romanticizing the past. Pining for the good ole days of Mike Sherman is something I've not seen before. It's always nice to be original I guess.

jeremy's picture

I don't see an argument that the recent TT/Capers defenses are much better in there.

Hank Scorpio's picture

If naming Ahmad Carrol as a starter on that team didn't convince before you even posted that, I doubt there is anything that anyone could write that would change your mind.

Arlo's picture

Compared to ah .... ah.... MD Jennings?

You have no argument in this discussion. You're just using the same 'ol flim-flam BS along with more cherry pick'in to support your beloved GM. How sad.

Try a little objectivity, just once.

Hank Scorpio's picture

You seem a bit tense, Arlo.

Is everything ok?

Arlo's picture

Now the straw man cometh.

Look it up.

Arlo's picture

Evan & your comrade:

I always like to assist one in need of education.

"...to create the illusion of having denied a proposition by replacing it with a different proposition." (ie: the 2004 D becomes all about A. Carroll)

How about a link to further your enlightenment. (to make it even easier for you - try wiki)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

Evan's picture

haha...I thought you were referring to Hank's comment about your level of tension, the post to which your comment replied.

Phatgzus's picture

ARLO, you need to Wiki some other logical fallacies, not everything is a straw man. As someone who actually rigorously studies philosophy, I have to say I'm embarrassed on your behalf.

Hank Scorpio's picture

I'll put that right at the top of my "to do" list.

Point Packer's picture

Brian - You forgot about "talent". This same article could be written about our LB's. Minus CMIII, when he's on the field....

Bert's picture

Sadly, outside of CM3 there's probably nobody on our defense that could start for Seattle's "D". Can't stand the Hawks or their coach but I gotta give 'em credit for buidling that team. They have 22 solid starters with a number of solid backups. We pretty much count on Rodgers to make up for our other shortcomings, especially on defense. But I'm sure Capers' "schemes" will keep 'em off balance.

Ted Thompson's picture

How many of their offensive players would start on our offense? Come on man.

Bert's picture

Nice try Ted but as they showed yesterday "defense wins championships." Sorry. Hope you're doing OK. Tell Dom he needs to come up with some trickier "schemes" maybe.

Hank Scorpio's picture

Except when offense wins championships. Or the team that got hot at the right time wins championships.

Bert's picture

Maybe so Hank but I doubt if we'll win many championships with this defense. Maybe....but I doubt it.

Bert's picture

You're right Hank. I'm not asking for a Seattle quality defense either. Just something better than 25th. If we can get ourselves in the top 16 in the league, and with more turnovers, we'll be fine given the offense we have. I'm not sure we can get into the top 16 with this conglomeration of "talent" we have now even with all of Capers cleverness (that's sarcasm).

Phatgzus's picture

We were 11th in 2012, Bert.

Bert's picture

Maybe they were 11th in 2012. Problem is they collapsed terribly when the chips were down against a good 49ers offense. The "D" typically will look OK against bad offenses and create the mirage that they are better than they are. That's been the MO for 3 years now and also in 2009.

Phatgzus's picture

So you say you'd be happy with a D in the top 15 and yet here you are debasing one that met such requirement, that makes sense.

cLowNEY42's picture

"How many of their offensive players would start on our offense?"

Every one of them other than
WR1
WR2
QB... although in the playoffs... no, I'm not going there tonight.

Hank Scorpio's picture

Bert,

Well, if you're going to have a defense that is, let's say a bit shaky, you need to have guys that can and do force turnovers. And those guys need to force them in the playoffs.

That was an area where the Packers took a huge step backwards in 2013. They didn't force many turnovers. If that continues, I agree that this defense will not allow a championship.

Phatgzus's picture

LG, C, RG, and arguably RB, FB, and TE.

Shields would be a starter on D as well.

GrnMachine's picture

Offensive line? Jermichael Finley? Let's see how Eddie Lacy does in his SECOND year. You've already ommited qb1 and our starting wideouts. By the way, we beat them last year in their house w/ our subpar team, bud.

cLowNEY42's picture

You all have taken the words right out of my mouth.
I have nothing to add.

Welcome to the dark side, everyone.

murphy's picture

"I have nothing to add."

Truer words were never written. Sadly, you continue to comment anyway.

Phatgzus's picture

Props. +1

Stroh's picture

Nobody seems to want to mention the great Defense the Packers had in 09 and 10. Both were top 5 NFL. And what happened to Collins and Bishop. I'll see your Thomas and raise you a Collins! Career ending injuries have REALLY hurt the Packers D. Throw in the Jolly suspension and Woodson.

Curious what Seattle's D would look like if they lose 5 playmakers? You simply don't replace that many playmakers in one or 2 drafts. None of this is Thompson's fault, he's trying to fix it but it takes time.

I expect the D to be very good in 14.

jeremy's picture

379 yards passing and five TDs in one playoff game. Yeah that 2009 defense was great.

Bert's picture

Agree. As for 2009 I recall the frustration of watching Favre make monkeys out of our defense. Twice. Warner obliterated us. There were weeks when it was pretty ugly.

Hank Scorpio's picture

I remember in the run up to the first Viking game of '09 listening on the radio to guys talking about how Capers was deathly afraid of how Favre would pick apart whoever was playing Safety opposite Collins. The name of that guy escapes me at the moment.

5 years later, many Safeties have come and gone. Yet the problem remains.

Why is Darren Perry talked about as a guy worthy of promotion to DC? He sure seems to be more worthy of a pink slip to me.

jeremy's picture

Now, Capers is deathly afraid of how any QB would pick apart whoever was playing Safety opposite the other Safety who's getting picking apart."

Hank Scorpio's picture

Jeremy,

Right or wrong, I doubt Capers is fearing putting Burnett on the field. They just gave him a big deal last year. So it seems far more likely they think he can play and just had an awful year.

It's a clever line, I'll grant 'ya. But probably not one that matches the reality of Capers' thinking.

Now, the question of whether Capers has the right kind of thinking to be a good DC in the NFL of 2014 is another discussion altogether. Personally, I think he doesn't and wish he'd coach somewhere else in 2014. Unfortunately, that seems unlikely at this point.

cLowNEY42's picture

Didn't Rapelisburger throw for like fivehundo too?

Ted Thompson's picture

One bad game equals a bad season. Jump off the band wagon already.

Mags's picture

He sure didn't try and fix the safety situation last year!

Stroh's picture

He had just drafted McMillan and clearly they were expecting him to take a jump and become the starter in '13. When McMillan showed in training camp and early in the season he couldn't get it done they cut him. They'll address it again this year. They also got Richardson, who if he gets better in coverage is an outstanding athlete. For all we know he'll be the starter in '14 even if we draft or sign a FA.

Draft and develop means giving a player you drafted a shot to earn the job, not draft and move on w/in a year.

jeremy's picture

"expecting him to take a jump"

Yeah that's the problem Poppinga was talking about.

Stroh's picture

Well teams don't generally assume that draft picks are going to fail. McMillan might have started 2 games his 2 yrs in GB and was quickly replaced by Jennings. What does that say about McMillan given how bad Jennings has been?! Kinda speaks volumes IMO.

Hank Scorpio's picture

McMillian is the kind of player that might flourish in Seattle, IMO. He had all the measurables. He just needed to be coached up into being a good pro football player.

"Draft and develop" is a philosophy that doesn't end with player acquisition. After being drafted, they need to be developed.

Stroh's picture

THey worked w/ him and gave him every chance to succeed. Put him in roles he should have flourished in and he still flopped. That's McMillans fault for not learning from mistakes or not being able to process info quickly. Or possibly cuz Capers scheme is too complex and McMillan couldn't grap it, which is why I wouldn't have minded if they replace Capers.

Phatgzus's picture

That 4th-and-20-something (maybe it was 3rd) vs. Balty is all I need to give up on J-Mc-good players (let alone safeties) don't get beat by 5 steps 40 yards down field when playing a prevent, bad players don't even get beat that badly. That is an otherworldly level of awful.

mark's picture

This is why I've posted about the need for the young crew to take over. Worthy, Perry, Datone, Heyward, Burnett, Daniels, Neal, Boyd, Mulumba...these are the guys.

We'll likely add a couple more impact guys from this year's draft and possibly (don't laugh) a FA, but ultimately it's these young guys who are (and will determine) our future.

cLowNEY42's picture

I agree that it falls on those guys.
And that's troubling.

Worthy - is what he is... a "guy"

Perry - is what he is... a big, injury prone guy playing out of position.

Heyward - time will tell. most think he's a stud. i tend to think he conveniently had the season of his life his rookie year. just doesn't seem to have any elite qualities (size, strength, speed).

Burnett - garbage. did he gain like 50 lbs or something? why was he so slow. why did it look like his feet were stuck in cement all season. rb's and wr's were just making one cut and it took him 30 minute to change direction. i had a high hopes for this guy... but he's a below average NFL safety. Can he add another 10 and play ILB?

Daniels - stud. too bad he's playing in the wrong defense. sucks that the 2nd (1st?) best defensive player on the team is forced into being a situational guy by the scheme.

Neal - gone. why have Perry and Neal? they're the same guy.

Boyd - epitome of "jag".

Mulumba - I actually see some promise in this one... but So'oto, Moses, and Zombo looked decent at times as well... he's probably closer to one of those guys.

If I'm a rookie defensive player - I am dying to get drafted by the Packers. No matter what position you play... no matter what round you were drafted in... you have a REAL good chance of starting.

Think about that.

Phatgzus's picture

Just gotta ask-how can you seriously make assertions regarding the talent and potential of these players (Hayward, Worthy, Perry, etc.) when you have (likely somewhat casually) watched them play the professional (or any level for that matter) for no more than 50 hours?

jeremy's picture

"why have Perry and Neal?"

Because between the two of them they will have one healthy OLB.

Stroh's picture

Thanks for your I insight"ful of crap" scouting on the Packers talent. Lets actually give them a chance to develop before calling all of our players bust, jag and just guys. You have NO F'in idea how good ANY of those players will become\!

Arlo's picture

What's wrong Stroh?
Too many naysayers for you to handle?
Go ahead, choke on your kool-aid. It won't change 8-8-1.

At this time next year we'll all be talking about the 'new regime' in Green Bay.

Stroh's picture

You mean trolls like you and CowTurd. Too many trolls absolutely!

gbslapshot's picture

Cry it out big guy...

Al Dante's picture

My concern is many of those you listed for us to rely on have no skills. Several I consider busts and you'll never get play out of them

Phatgzus's picture

You consider them busts? Are you an NFL scout or GM? No? Interesting.

mark's picture

Recently, Silverstein wrote a great article about Daniels. In it, Daniels took some ownership for his role, and his responsibility to step up. I hope and pray Perry and Datone and others do the same. Stop waiting to be the guy and BE THE GUY.

cLowNEY42's picture

I love Daniels.
I've been burying myself in this draft.
I want Aaron Donald.
He's like an even better Daniels.

I know he's undersized for a 3/4 DL.
But the dude is gonna demand double teams. he can not be blocked by one guy. He's ridiculous.

The way I see it, there are two ways of keeping your ILB's clean.
1. Being a big tub of goo that just plops itself down and takes two guys to move.

2. Being so disruptive and penetratingly unblockable that 2 guys have to account for you.

Daniels and Donald would bring some f'n attitude right away.

THERE would be the inside push that's needed.
No pocket to step up in to.

Phatgzus's picture

Yeah I want Donald as well, especially if he's available in the second; I don't really care how big you are, if you can ball then you can ball-that kid can ball and that's that.

Jordan's picture

I agree completely that Packers need better players on defense. But still, the Packers offense was only able to muster up 20 points at Lambeau against the 49ers in playoffs. 20 points at home? Zero points in first quarter at home? That ain't working either. They need upgrades on offense too. 20 points is ridiculous, especially when you have multiple veteran players that have been in the same offense for years and are playing at home. ....and you have the 'best' quarterback?

Phatgzus's picture

The offense is fine. SF had some ridiculous scoring discrepancy for the first quarter this year, that said, the offensive production that quarter was so much worse than offensive.

Jordan's picture

Hard to say about offense since they didn't beat a team with a winning record all season. I just know they weren't good enough to beat the 49ers at Lambeau when the D held the 49ers to a respectable 23. So there's definitely room for improvement/upgrading on offense. The Packers offense will at some point have to play a really good defense in 2014 if they make playoffs.

Hank Scorpio's picture

Jordan,

It might be hard for you to say about the offense. But it is not hard for most people to say the Packers have a good offense.

Rodgers in among the best players in all of football. Some say he's the top, most place him in the top 3. If James Jones walks away, they have a respectable WR group in Nelson, Cobb and Boykin. If he's back they are that much better. Plus the Packers have a knack for finding WRs. Lacy was OROY. Add in Franklin and Harris and the RB group is as talented as it has been since Green, Davenport & Fisher. Their interior OL is beginning to resemble the great Packer OL group of the mid 2000s. They are a bit shaky at OT but a year in the weight room for Bakhtiari and the return of Bulaga might complete that group resembling the great OL of Cliffy, Wahle, Flanagan, Rivera and Tausch.

The only position that is weak is TE and that is pending the offseason. If Finley is cleared and re-signed, the position becomes a strength.

I would caution you about putting too much emphasis on one playoff game in miserable conditions against an outstanding defense. Maybe, just maybe, that "respectable" defensive performance was aided by the same conditions that hindered the offense. It makes sense anyways, doesn't it? We sure saw that one side stepped it up at crunch time and the other withered in that same spotlight, anyways.

Jordan's picture

I thought the Packers offense was really good in 2011 when they went 15-1. But then they played the giants in playoffs at Lambeau and the packers offense could only score 20 points and got beat.

So as long as they don't play in a cold playoff game against a good defense, the packers offense is good and will score a lot of points. I get it now.
Thanks.

Just as long as they have a good offense in regular season like the broncos, they should be all set. Got it.

Didn't the steelers offense outscore the packers offense in Super Bowl XLV?

Hank Scorpio's picture

So I take it you are sticking with the notion that it is hard to say whether the Packers have a good offense.

Duly noted.

I'll stick to thinking it isn't hard to say at all.

Jordan's picture

I'm sticking with the notion that the Packers offense needs upgrades too. Apparently the GB offense is good, but just not good enough as evidenced by recent playoff losses against good defenses.

Good thing nick Collins scored a TD vs steelers in XLV. Because the packers offense didn't produce enough points to win the game.

Phatgzus's picture

Dude, the Donkey's O just broke every major record and they put up 8 in the Super Bowl. And the teams whose records they beat were the 15-1 Packers and 16-0 Patriots. Can't really ge much better than that; maybe, just maybe teams play better D in the postseason (see your Nick Collins point) and it's not our offense (which finished top 10, maybe 5, in scoring sans Aaron Rodgers for almost 8 complete games, as well as a multitude of other talented players) that is at issue.

Jordan's picture

Dude, the packers offense was at full strength vs 49ers in first game of season of 2012 Rodgers wasn't hurt. Finley was a full go. Packers offense had an entire offseason to prepare for that game. It was 23-7 after the third quarter. 7 points? Really? Why? Why only 7 points after 3 quarters of play? If the Packers offense has the best QB in the league and is the strength of the team, then why only 7 points after three quarters?

Like I said, there's plenty of room for upgrades on Packers offense too.

Lou's picture

With the number of free agents in the D-Line and the known vulnerability up the middle (ILB & Safety) plus the questionable health of the OLB's no one can predict how the defense will perform in 2014 until that side of the ball is transformed via the draft and free agency. In reference to the safety play it is apparent that Jennings lacks the size needed in the run game and feel in the passing game and if you follow Bob McGinn he infers occasionally (how he gets his message across) to Burnett's Wonderlic Score which is a key if you are the QB of the secondary and often late in covering (see assisting Hawk with Vernon Davis - he bit inside instead and could not recover whereas you see no hesitation with the Seahawks safeties, it is diagnose and fire out). I do not question Caper's ability and realize he has little to work with because many of the defensive draft choices have not produced yet (not blaming Ted who overall is a positive drafter) but after watching the 49ers, Panthers, and Seahawks defense at all positions fly to the ball as a unit still maintaining technique and wrap up time and time again as a "gang" I certainly would consider replacing Capers just to bring in a new voice and more enthusiasm to the defense, it can be contagious as we have seen in the playoffs. That is a hard call for McCarthy but hoping that so many young players take that next step in 2014 is illogical and a recipe for the same results provided no solid free agents are added to the mix.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Darren Perry needs to be looked at. Thanks, Hank. Safety talent was there. Burnett and Jennings both had experience. Burnett and McMillan had decent talent IMHO, and Jennings should be at worst an average to below average back-up instead of a complete liability. Of course, Jennings ended up starting. GB's D lacks attitude, and comprehension. Since 61 is spot on.

That being said, I am inclined to agree with Stroh that the D will be better next year. Some improvement by subtraction, and I expect some adjustments and some current players to improve. Health would help alone. Raji should have been a healthy scratch for 1 game instead of being trotted out there even though he was terrible. Maybe GB had no one better, but lighting a fire under Raji might have improved the season overall.

Evan's picture

"@nickdapick36: Who's looking for a top notch free safety. This kid is ready to dominate #2014"

Hmmmmm?

RC Packer Fan's picture

I would love to see him back in Green Bay. Just don't see it happening.

Evan's picture

Yeah, it's the longest of long shots, but I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed just in case. What an incredible return that would be.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Its really crazy how much this defense has missed him.

He made such a difference for this defense.

I am there with you. I would love to see him back, and really wish he would come back.
But I'm not going to get my hopes up to high.

Hank Scorpio's picture

I agree it is the longest of long shots.

But the Packers would be foolish not to explore the possibility. Aside from the fact they are atrocious at the spot, there wouldn't be the learning curve of other veteran additions.

Give him another examination. Consult the best medical experts around. If the medical risk is unchanged, move on.

Evan's picture

And if he is cleared, I can't imagine he'd command big money. Maybe a 1-year deal to see how he fares. That's right up TT's alley.

Evan's picture

There I go getting my hopes up...

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree.

The first major hurdle is for him to be cleared. 2nd is for him to be cleared by the Packers medical staff (who are more cautious with injuries, remember they didn't sign Chris Canty for medical reasons).

The odds are against him.

That being said if he is cleared they have to bring him in and look at him.
Yeah, I really doubt he would command much of a salary.

Since we are talking about Collins, I am still wondering about Finley as well.

Stroh's picture

Packers are NOT going to change their minds and clear him now. Give up the "pipe"dream!

Horse's picture

Pretty long article that can be summed up like this:

Packers need much better safety play going forward.

Not exactly a revelation out of the blue.

The TKstinator's picture

Out of the blue, and into the black.

The TKstinator's picture

Are Seattle's safeties effective because of the scheme they play in?
Or because of their own skills?
Or because of the overall excellence of every other level of their defense?
Or some combination of the above?
Or all of the above?

Can an NFL defense be effective running a very simple scheme?
Does our defense suffer from too much complexity and breakdowns in communication and players unsure of assignments and blowing coverages and injuries forcing players into the lineup thus exacerbating all of these problems?

Give me Lester Hayes on one side, Deion Sanders on the other, Lawrence Taylor, Reggie White, and any 7 JAGS to fill out the rest, play two deep man all day, and I like my chances. People will be in awe of my amazing coaching skills. All they gotta do is find their OWN Hayes, Sanders, Taylor, and White.

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